Celebrating the Architects of Song: Spotify Secret Genius Awards Honor Quincy Jones and the creative individuals behind the year’s most successful songs…
For legend Quincy Jones, the numbers speak for themselves: 2900 songs. 79 Grammy Nominations. EGOT status.
But let’s start with a different number: two.
I would wager that the distance in degrees between any song and Quincy Jones is two. Just two degrees of separation.
We simply wouldn’t have the music we do without Q.
In celebration of his accomplishments and contributions, Spotify honored Quincy Jones with the Legendary Genius Award at the Secret Genius Awards, held November 16th at the Ace Hotel Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. Hosted by Ne-Yo, the Legendary Award was one part of a riveting night of celebrations, performances, and recognition of the Secret Geniuses behind your favorite songs including songwriters, producers, mixers, and engineers.
Nominees and presenters alike recognized the importance of these awards. Country Award presenter and recently named CMA Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban shared the importance and brilliance of these awards. “I think it’s magnificent,” Urban shared. “I think it’s right that they should get accolades. Everybody thinks that artists write the songs and they don’t know [the] things behind the scenes. I think it’s really nice that this is more than just a pre-show trophy and a quick mention during the telecast. This is all about them.”
This show “all about them” opened with a stripped down performance of “I’m a Mess” by Bebe Rexha with co-writer Justin Tranter. Before the show, Tranter looked forward to spending time with the writing community and recognized the importance of this kind of an event. “Spotify has really figured out how people in the future want to listen to music,” Tranter said. “It makes sense that they’re the ones that throw such a big beautiful event that shines a light on the people who are making a lot of these songs.”
Presenter of the Spotify Producer award, Tricky Stewart recognized the need to celebrate the depth of the industry. “I think it’s always very important to acknowledge our industry in its totality,” Stewart shared. “This has really created a platform that I think is good for the industry to have an idea of the people behind these teams and some of the songwriting collaborations and producers and how these people get their inspiration and how we pull from them. I have so much respect for people who dedicate themselves to the craft.” Stewart later presented the Producer of the Year Award to Murda Beatz, producer for Drake, Travis Scott, and Migos, among notable others.
“Honestly I feel like I am the secret genius of the industry so I feel like it’s a blessing,” Murda Beatz shared regarding his nomination before the ceremony. “I treat myself big and I treat myself as an artist.”
At every turn, with every interstitial graphic, and every song that played in between, the audience was reminded that the honorees were, to use Keith Urban’s word from his presentation, the “architects” of popular music. From Chainsmokers to Post Malone, the geniuses behind the tune help craft their success. However, Jacob Collier suggests a more elegant definition of the word genius.
“For me, genius is a strange word,” Collier said. “Something that the ancient Greeks always used to say was that genius isn’t something that you are it’s something that happens to you.” And at the center of that happening for Collier is Quincy Jones himself: Jones discovered Jacob’s work through his popular YouTube covers, including a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t Worry About A Thing.” Jones became a mentor and manager to the young multi-instrumentalist, who in turn had a chance to honor Quincy Jones by performing at the Spotify Genius Awards. “I think it’s just great to be one of those voices tonight who’s adding to that celebration of this man who’s behind such a lot of music that’s transformed the way people think in the last 60 years. Quincy is one of these blessed people that has been able to channel so much energy, and me and millions of people have been lucky to be on the other end.”
Collier’s extraordinary cover of “Human Nature” rendered the audience speechless. Barefoot at the piano and accompanied with strings, Collier’s energy and soul flowed from his fingertips. The study felt like perfect preparation for the legend to take the age.
Producers Max Martin and Timbaland, who shared that Quincy Jones was his idol, bestowed the Legendary Genius Award to the one and only Quincy Jones. In his acceptance speech, Jones noted that music should create goosebumps and a space for god to walk through the room. He advised us that there is no musical challenge we cannot overcome with the twelve notes we are given. And even after all the recognition and the numbers, Jone reminded us that is just getting started. “I’m not done yet!” Jones warned, “YOLO KOKO!”
The room laughed and breathed deeply; a recognition that we were lucky to be in Jones’s presence. When Quincy Jones is involved, it is always history in the making.
After the song, every song is two degrees away from him.
For a full list of winners, head to Spotify’s Secret Genius Award list here: https://newsroom.spotify.com/2018-11-17/quincy-jones-ali-tamposi-murda-beatz-and-tank-god-win-top-honors-at-spotifys-secret-genius-awards-in-los-angeles/
Want to know more of what happened? Check out the below list of “Best Ofs” from the night!
- Best Spotify Sponsored Announcement: The EQL Directory. Before announcing the Engineer of Year, Marcella Araica, a self-described “woman in a male-dominated field,” announced the Spotify EQL Directory, a global database for women in music production. The announcement was made sweeter upon fellow sister in audio Kesha Lee winning the Engineer of the Year Award.
- Best Speech: Tie between Rock winner Jake Sinclair, who shared “This is my nightmare. I’d like to thank Spotify” and Pop winner Benny Blanco, who quipped, “Quincy Jones is here. Peace guys!”
- Best Reveal: Keith Urban’s collaboration with Post Malone is coming soon! Urban shared the following with The Knockturnal: “I just did a song with Post Malone that’s going to be on a Elvis special it comes out in January that I love playing with him and I hope we get to do more because I just think he’s amazing.”
- Best Prediction of the Future: Tayla Parx When asked who we should be listening to, Tayla did not hesitate: “Ali Tamposi is incredible. I remember when I first heard her first record, and eventually working together on my mixtape.” Tamposi won songwriter of the year at the awards. In addition, Parx shared what’s next on the horizon for her own work: “Right now I have my own stuff coming from my album We Need To Talk. I just had three number ones in different genres at the moment and all the records came out at the same time so I’m able to shift back and focus on my own things. We need To Talk is coming early 2019.”